28 Apr 2020

Arsenic-resistant RiceQuick read

Context: Arsenic-resistant rice cultivated in West Bengal

  • Arsenic from groundwater and the soil can enter the food chain through paddy
  • West Bengal is among the States with the highest concentration of arsenic in groundwater, with as many as 83 blocks across seven districts having higher arsenic levels than permissible limits.
  • The new rice variety, Muktoshri — also called IET 21845 —, was developed jointly by the Rice Research Station at Chinsurah coming under West Bengal’s Agriculture Department and the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow
  • This variety uptakes very less amount of arsenic from soil and water in comparison to other varieties of rice.
  • According to the World Health Organization
    • long-term exposure to arsenic, mainly through drinking water and food, can lead to poisoning. 
    • Skin lesions and skin cancer are the most characteristic effects.
    • provisional guideline value for arsenic in drinking water is 0.01 mg/l (10 μg/l). The permissible limit of arsenic in India in the absence of an alternative source is 0.05 mg/l (50 μg/l).

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